Sporting DNA That Harkens Back To The V750 S3 Of 1975

Moto Guzzi carries its “Special” into 2018 after the introduction last year of the V7 III family that brought in a new engine and all-new frame. This is the third generation of ’Guzzi’s venerable V7 line, and the Special sports DNA that goes all the way back to the V750 S3 of ’75 in a conspicuous display of its deep roots, but keeps things purely modern where it counts. A new V-twin delivers ample ponies with that distinctive rumble and transverse orientation you’d expect with a traction control feature to help you keep it under control while accelerating. ABS overwatch for safe braking makes the Special suitable for entry-level riders and fun for experienced ones. Today I’m going to dig into this classy little standard that hails from the era of my childhood, and I gotta’ say, I’ve been looking forward to this particular ’Guzzi, so let’s get started.

Continue reading for my review of the Moto Guzzi V7 III Special.

  • 2017 - 2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Special
  • Year:
    2017- 2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V-Twin
  • Displacement:
    744 cc
  • Price:
    8990
  • Price:

2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Special Design

2017 - 2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Special
- image 782162
Although the details are subtle, I still get a sense of nostalgia just looking at the Special so the designers were on-point with this one.

MG starts out in the right direction with a set of laced rims that makes a strong statement. Sure, we still see plenty of spokes offroad, but most streetbikes are rocking some sort of cast-ally rims nowadays so the wire wheels really stand out. The blackout treatment starts out early as well with darkened hubs and fork sliders to match the powerplant, tripletree, instrumentation, headlight can and rear fender for a nod to the custom culture. Twin round instrument cans carry an analog speedo and tach with an LCD screen and a handful of indicator lamps for everything else. Additionally, the Special comes with Bluetooth connectivity so you can turn your smartphone into a ride computer that monitors a plethora o’ parameters for instantaneous feedback underway and post-ride analysis later.

The 5.54-gallon fuel tank sports the usual shed roof on each side to sort of visually shelter the protruding jugs and form a knee pocket for the rider with a screw-in, lockable fuel cap rather than the flush-mount, aircraft-style closure. A faux tuck-and-roll bench seat takes over from there all the way back to the chrome passenger grab rail for even more seventies spice to go with the period striping on the side fairings and the bold, two-tone graphic that runs from front to back along the top of the tank, no matter which base color you choose.

An all-in-one, tag/tail/turn unit finishes off the rearward gear with a period oval taillight over a blackout rear fender and kicked-up mufflers for a sporty finish. Although the details are subtle, I still get a sense of nostalgia just looking at the Special, so I’d say that the designers were on-point with this one.

2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Special Chassis

2017 - 2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Special
- image 782151
New frame, lower seat height and a more comfortable passenger ride.

This new generation of V7 rides on an all-new frame that sees some reinforcement added to the front end of the traditional, dismountable double-cradle frame. Steel-tubing members make up the detachable double-cradle structure with a 46-54 weight split that keeps the front end light and responsive. A 26.4-degree rake angle and 4.17 inches of trail takes full advantage of it with a cast-alloy swingarm to finish off the standing structure and push the wheelbase out to 57.59-inches long.

Seat height was lowered to a manageable 30.3 inches off the ground, and the passenger’s triangle also got tweaked for comfort as well with a new position for the subframe-mount pegs to leave more legroom for your riding partner.

A single, 320 mm disc and four-pot Brembo anchor takes care of hauling down the front end with a 260 mm disc and two-piston caliper to slow the rear with ABS to help you keep it dirty-side down if you do get a little overenthusiastic with the brake levers.

Non-adjustable, 40 mm forks float the front end on 5.11 inches of travel and the dual, coil-over rear shocks give up 3.66 inches of travel with naught but the obligatory spring-preload adjustment for ride quality tweaks. In other words; pure-D vanilla. Asymmetrical hoops round out the rolling chassis with a 100/90-18 and 130/80-17 on the front and rear, respectively.

Frame: double cradle tubular frame in ALS steel with detachable elements
Trail: 4.2 in (106 mm)
Headstock angle: 26.4°
Front suspension/ Travel: Ø 40 mm hydraulic telescopic fork/ 130 mm
Rear suspension: die cast light alloy swing arm with 2 shock absorbers with adjustable spring preload
Wheel travel: 93 mm (shock absorber travel 80 mm)
Front Brake: Ø 320 mm stainless steel floating discs, Brembo calipers with 4 differently sized opposed pistons
Rear brake: Ø 260 mm, stainless steel disc, floating caliper with 2 pistons
Front wheel: 18" spoked 100/90 (110/80 R18 as alternative)
Rear wheel: 17" spoked 130/80

2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Special Drivetrain

2017 - 2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Special
- image 782160
Being in the lower-mid displacement range bolsters its entry-level suitability with enough power and torque to be fun, but manageable.

The Special’s revised powerplant is pretty hard to miss as its V-twin construction and transverse-mount arrangement leaves both of the new aluminum heads sticking out from under the fuel tank. Yeah, it’s unusual looking, but that’s ’Guzzi for you. A pair of 80 mm bores and a 74 mm stroke gives the engine a total displacement of 744 cc to put it in the lower-mid displacement range and bolster its entry-level suitability. The power numbers bear that out with 52 horsepower on tap at 6,200 rpm backed up by 44 pound-feet at 4,900 rpm: fun, but manageable.

In a bid to help you keep it under control, the factory chucked on its proprietary traction-control system that monitors wheel-speed differential and intervenes by reducing power until traction is reestablished. Of course, if you feel like you’d like to break the ass-end loose and have the necessary skillset to handle it, you can switch it off entirely and go full raw. Yee-haw.

The valvetrain for the duo-valve heads is a simple pushrod-and-rocker system that keeps the cam down low and the rocker box relatively compact. A single-disc dry clutch couples engine power to the six-speed transmission with straight-up raw operation. It has nothing of a slipper- or over-running clutch to prevent excessive backtorque from breaking the rear end loose on an aggressive downshift, but the factory touts an easy-pull clutch lever that is meant to be new-rider friendly. ’Cause ya’ know, not everyone starts out with chiseled forearms...

Displacement: 744 cc
Bore & Stroke: 80 mm x 74 mm
Timing system: 2 valves with light alloy pushrods and rockers
Max Power: 52 hp (38 kW) at 6,200 rpm
Maximum torque at crankshaft: 44 lb-ft (60 Nm) at 4,900 rpm
Exhaust system: 3-way catalytic converter with double lambda probe
Cooling: Air

2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Special Price

2017 - 2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Special
- image 782161
MSRP comes in at an affordable $9k.

The V7 III Special rolls for a wallet-friendly $8,990. Blu Zaffiro (blue) and Nero Inchiostro (black) are the available colors this year, and while the former comes with nice silver and orange stripes, the latter sports green and white for a fetching contrast against the base coat.

Color: Blu Zaffiro, Nero Inchiostro
Price: $8,990

2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Special Competitors

2016 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Street 500 / Street 750
- image 724347
2017 - 2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Special
- image 781656
The traction control feature puts 'Guzzi way ahead of H-D's engine management, and the MoCo has no answer for that tech here.

Kinda’ sporty, kinda’ cool and kinda’ classy, the Special covers a lot of territory for an entry-level bike, but Harley-Davidson has something equally as fresh in its Street 750. The Street doesn’t reach for a specific model quite the same way the Special does, but instead cleaves to the café racer look with a bullet fairing that makes a connection to the old-school racers.

Surprisingly wide, the Street is a real chuck between the legs, even moreso than the ’Guzzi, but the laden seat height rides at a mere 25.7 inches off the ground for a definite edge amongst the vertically-challenged crowd. The Mustang-like seat on the H-D tapers off at the pillion, and while it technically qualifies as a p-pad, the MG provides much greater comfort for your passenger. Sure, it looks cool, but your date is gonna’ hate it.

Suspension is vanilla across the board with nothing gained by either bike, but H-D takes a hit at the brakes for not offering a stock ABS, and hitting buyers that want it for another 8 bills. Of course, the traction control feature puts ’Guzzi way ahead of H-D’s engine management, and the MoCo has no answer for that tech here.

Like MG, Harley uses a V-twin powerplant that just barely outpulls the MG mill with 749 cc and 44.5 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. Not much of a difference, but there it is. Harley manages to score a win at the checkout with a price range that runs from the basic black at $7,599 and the two-tone pallete at $8,049. Is it enough to offset the lack of traction control yummygoodness? Depends on how much you depend on such crutches.

He Said

“The Special really has a nice look, and the chrome is kept to a tasteful level, something I’m always glad to see. It does manage to stand out from the V7 III crowd a bit, and offers a bit of class to buyers who’re looking for something to show some taste.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “The engine, if I’m not mistaken, was designed for the V9, but with a little smaller displacement and a skosh more output. Add on some electronic fandanglery that the V7 II didn’t have and you’ve got a nice little bike. It feels well balanced and I like the chassis and suspension updates.”

2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Special Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Displacement: 744 cc
Bore & Stroke: 80 mm x 74 mm
Timing system: 2 valves with light alloy pushrods and rockers
Max Power: 52 hp (38 kW) at 6,200 rpm
Maximum torque at crankshaft: 44 lb-ft (60 Nm) at 4,900 rpm
Exhaust system: 3-way catalytic converter with double lambda probe
Cooling: Air
Chassis:
Frame: double cradle tubular frame in ALS steel with detachable elements
Trail: 4.2 in (106 mm)
Headstock angle: 26.4°
Front suspension/ Travel: Ø 40 mm hydraulic telescopic fork/ 130 mm
Rear suspension: die cast light alloy swing arm with 2 shock absorbers with adjustable spring preload
Wheel travel: 93 mm (shock absorber travel 80 mm)
Front Brake: Ø 320 mm stainless steel floating discs, Brembo calipers with 4 differently sized opposed pistons
Rear brake: Ø 260 mm, stainless steel disc, floating caliper with 2 pistons
Front wheel: 18" spoked 100/90 (110/80 R18 as alternative)
Rear wheel: 17" spoked 130/80
Dimensions & Capacities:
Wheelbase: 57.6 in (1,463 mm)
Saddle height: 30.3 in (770 mm)
Length: 86.0 in (2,185 mm)
Height: 43.7 in (1,110 mm)
Minimum ground clearance: 5.9 in (150 mm)
Fuel tank capacity: 5.5 gals, including 1 gal reserve (21 liters, including 4 liter reserve)
Dry weight: 425.5 lbs (193 kg)
Curb weight: 469.6 lbs (213 kg)
Details:
Color: Blu Zaffiro, Nero Inchiostro
Price: $8,990

References

Harley-Davidson Street 750

2016 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Street 500 / Street 750
- image 731660

See our review of the Harley-Davidson Street 500/750.

Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber & Roamer

2016 - 2018 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber & V9 Roamer
- image 682414

See our review of the Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber & Roamer.

Moto Guzzi V7 II

2016 Moto Guzzi V7 II
- image 682608

See our review of the Moto Guzzi V7 II.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: motoguzzi-us.com, harley-davidson.com

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